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the eighty-ninth key

…to a body beauty and to a soul wisdom and to an action virtue and to speech truth, but their opposites are unbefitting.


Chicago in the Wintertime is a particularly good spirit animal for the mentally disengaged. It is cold- not only in the heartless way that requires you to force lack of eye contact with literally dozens of panhandlers on the daily as to not be putting yourself in an unsafe situation- but also in the way in which I now wear a complete Patagonia supersuit of an outfit underneath my street clothes on the daily. Cold is nicer than hot in many ways. Food, shelther, and hot drink (or alcohol, for that matter) go a long way towards alleviating it, whereas it takes much air conditioning and melting popsicles to mask the sting of a hot desert summer. And still, with the plentiful layering and consumption of much tea and cocoa, this winter is getting to me more than most- even though it has yet to even truly begin. Any native of a snowy region, be it Home Means Nevada or upstate New York, will stick to their guns about winter not being Winter until a first snow hits hard. But not a single part of me feels as if this is fall, in mood or in weather. And for that, I blame Stasis.

Cue the sixth-grade paper Webster reference:

stasis, sta·sis/ˈstāsis/Noun:
1. A period or state of inactivity or equilibrium.

After having made the much-written-about but little-understood “transition” of moving to Chicago/Evanston for school, the chaos seems to have suddenly subsided. Less like an ebb and flow of tide, and more like when airplane tires suddenly touch back down to tarmac. Having ‘planned’ mentally for the months in between my program acceptance letter and my apartment lease, I conjured up so many dreams of what being here would be like that they seemed to take on a life of their own. Romanticized evenings of watching the sunset from a library nook, of cooking for new peers in an eccentrically decorated apartment, of the way co-habitating with a lover in a new apartment becomes elegantly choreographed.  So, with all these plans in mind, I loaded all my belongings into a car, drove them down the coast, then loaded the winners of my Maslow’s Hierarchy of Packing Needs into a handful of suitcases and few with them halfway across the country. And since then, it’s gotten real.  There is no lover here to dance with. The decorations are as sparse as a lack of pocket change and creative energy, and the kitchen is famous for dinners for one. I am reminded of how friends, like furnishings, are things that take weeks and months of time to properly acquire in quality.

And thus, the inactivity that is composed of much activity, the equilibrium that comes of much imbalance.

If this were a 100-level Comm class instead of my personal blog, I might delve into the ways in which the term has salience in Classical Rhetoric. The Greek/Roman uses of the term stasis, which differ greatly from my own current conundrum, can be loosely interpreted as ways in which you get to the meat of an issue.  In debates and courtrooms, there were four different techniques defined as useful to get to the crux of an argument. Fact, definition, quality, jurisdiction. They work kind of like different moves in Moral Kombat to beat up your opponent until you get all the fallacies on the table and a big K.O. right in the middle of the Agora. Or something like that.

Thinking about being in a state of being ‘stuck’ as a chance to deconstruct and refine my life is optimistic to a fault. Conflating the two terms is ridiculous- to equate inactivity to the tools with which one asks useful questions. But maybe a moment of standing somewhat still is what it takes to see the other conflict spinning around, to begin to deconstruct the noise, to have my ears left ringing after the loudness of being somewhere new.

A friend told me tonight to “keep it real” – a phrase used all the time in passing with my friend’s on the West Coast (best coast). It’s fairly hard to do exactly that, to try and live outside of a lifetime of idealized fantasies about what being in my twenties would be like, and to actually just be in my twenties. I’m less than two weeks away from a birthday, less than three weeks away from finals, and less than a month away from heading back to my homeland for a reprieve from this Chicago cold. I’ll have a chance to thaw out. Until then, here’s to trying to take the freeze in stride and trying to use it, to ask the questions, and to put the things that stand in the way of happiness on trial.



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